American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Washington, Mt. St. Helens

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1969

Washington, Mt. St. Helens. On 19 May John Borst, Jr. (23) and Wayne Anderson (23) started up the lizard route on Mt. St. Helens. Each man was equipped with long underwear, two T-shirts, sweat shirt, waterproof pants, vibram boots, wool socks, face mask, mittens and gloves, and a nylon parka. They had ice axes, crampons, and one 120 foot rope. They made good progress initially after a late start due to poor weather. At about 1:00 p.m. they were above the “little lizard” at an altitude of 7,000 feet. They were unroped on the upper right margin of the Forsyth Glacier in a crevassed area. Borst fell in to a depth of about 40 feet. He claimed he was O.K. and told Anderson to go for help, which he did. Borst was finally extricated at about 10:15 p.m. in a state of mild hypothermia.

Source: Mountain Rescue and Safety Council of Oregon Newsletter; Ross Petrie, Hall Foss.

Analysis: (Borst)

The party had started to climb too late in the day.

The party had no definite leader.

The party was too small for the climbing conditions that prevailed.

The party had made no definite decision as to a route until they were on the mountain.

The party was unroped in an area of known crevasses.

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